You will complete 100 credits of core research methods modules, plus 20 credits of advanced research methods or subject-specific training, and a 60-credit 15,000-word dissertation. You will be assigned an appropriate dissertation supervisor who will oversee your progress.
Foundations in Qualitative Methods
This module provides a conceptual overview of the various approaches and debates associated with theory and practice of qualitative research. It examines a range of contrasting perspectives on the design of research including problem identification, selection and sampling, and analysis.
Research ethics, and the role of the researcher in generating qualitative data, are key themes which run through the module. Specific consideration is given to the ways in which qualitative and quantitative approaches may be seen as complementary, and the use of mixed methods.
The module will also cover the ways in which qualitative research can be evaluated. The module will also facilitate dialogue between members of different social science disciplines, to give an understanding of how some issues or practices may be viewed differently from different disciplinary perspectives.
Fundamentals of Quantitative Analysis
The objective of this module is to further your familiarity with the practice of quantitative data analysis in the social sciences at a foundation level. The lecture component of the module will explore a variety of the most commonly used statistical methods. The laboratory component will provide you with an opportunity to apply these statistical techniques to the analysis of contemporary data. The module should provide a sound grasp of the possibilities, methods, and pitfalls inherent in quantitative social/health science research.
Philosophy of Social Science Research
The module has three parts:
- Science and the philosophical critique of science
- Epistemological debates in the social sciences - including, but not limited to, positivism and its critics, interpretative approaches including phenomenology, critical realism, social construction and the politics of knowledge and the sociology of science
- The funding environment - interdisciplinarity and the impact agenda
Research Design, Practice and Ethics
This module focuses on the analytical, practical and ethical organisation of social science research.
The analytical organisation is often referred to as 'research design' and will constitute the bulk of the content of this module. Research design consists of choices necessary to transform a research question into actual research. These choices pertain to strategies and modes of case selection, observation methods, data collection and modes of analysis.
Every research question can be elaborated in different ways (ie with different designs), none of which will be ideal in all respects as the various choices pertain to trade-offs. Each design has its own implications in terms of costs and in terms of potential threats to the validity of its eventual results. These implications will be elaborated in the module, as well as ways how to handle the resulting choice problems in actual practice.
The practical organisation of research is closely related to design choices, but focuses particularly on logistical and timing issues. Ethical organisation of the research involves awareness of ethical issues, of ethical consent procedures and of their implications for research design and practical organisation.
Researching the Social: Contemporary Debates in Sociology
The module will require you to develop a critical and reflexive understanding of key substantive and theoretical debates in the field of contemporary sociology.
Throughout the module, you will be encouraged to explore the relationship between theoretical development and substantive explanation. You will also be required to develop a reflexive and critical understanding of how theoretical assumptions impinge both on social theory and sociological explanation.
The substantive debates to be covered may vary from year to year in order to accommodate new developments in the field, while ensuring that a wide range of sociological theories are represented. However the following list provides a sample of possible candidates for inclusion:
- Social inequality
- Social change
- Modernity and postmodernity
- Identity and belonging
You will complete a 60-credit 15,000-word dissertation. You will be assigned an appropriate dissertation supervisor who will oversee your progress.
You will choose 20 credits of optional modules from the school or advanced research methods.
The above is a sample of the typical modules that we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. This course page may be updated over the duration of the course, as modules may change due to developments in the curriculum or in the research interests of staff.
Teaching methods and assessment
Each module is individually assessed, giving you the opportunity to demonstrate a range of research skills including critical analysis, report writing, group work, verbal presentations and project development and completion.
With a clear grasp of the ethical and political issues which arise in social science research, you will be equipped to pursue a range of careers. This could include research and managerial roles in private, public, and third sector organisations, non-governmental organisations, academia, civil service and journalism.
This course provides an excellent route into further academic study and many of our students go on to complete doctoral research before pursuing an academic career.
Our graduates move into a wide range of careers following their time in the school. Studying at postgraduate level can give you a head start in the job market by helping you to gain new knowledge and develop vital skills.
Average starting salary and career progression
96.3% of postgraduates from the School of Sociology and Social Policy secured work or further study within six months of graduation. £27,900 was the average starting salary, with the highest being £31,000.*
* Known destinations of full-time home postgraduates who were available for employment, 2016/17. Salaries are calculated based on the median of those in full-time paid employment within the UK.
Careers support and advice
We offer individual careers support for all postgraduate students whatever your course, mode of study or future career plans.
You can access our Careers and Employability Service during your studies and after you graduate. Expert staff will help you research career options and job vacancies, build your CV or résumé, develop your interview skills and meet employers.
More than 1,500 employers advertise graduate jobs and internships through our online vacancy service. We host regular careers fairs, including specialist fairs for different sectors.
As a student on this course, you should factor some additional costs into your budget, alongside your tuition fees and living expenses.
You should be able to access most of the books you'll need through our libraries, though you may wish to purchase your own copies or more specific titles.
Scholarships and bursaries
This course forms the '1' component of a 1+3 ESRC-funded scholarship with the Midlands Graduate School. It will equip you with the research methods training needed to apply for +3 study on the sociology pathway.
See information on how to fund your masters, including our step-by-step guide. Further information is available on the school website.
Government loans for masters courses
Masters student loans of up to £10,906 are available for taught and research masters courses. Applicants must ordinarily live in the UK or EU.
International and EU students
Masters scholarships are available for international and EU students from a wide variety of countries and areas of study. You must already have an offer to study at Nottingham to apply. Please note closing dates to ensure you apply for your course with enough time.
We provide guidance on funding your degree, living costs and working while you study. You can also access specific funding opportunities, entry requirements and other resources for students from specific countries.